How to Get Tree Sap Out of Dog Hair

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Tree sap, sometimes referred to as pine tar, is a very sticky substance that can become trapped in your dog's hair, leaving large mats. Mats can become very uncomfortable for your dog, and should be dealt with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, because of its sticky consistency, tree sap can be difficult to remove. You could take your dog to a professional groomer to remove the tree sap and hair mats, but this can be expensive. Luckily, there are ways to remove pine sap at home that are inexpensive.

Freeze the tree sap with an ice cube. This will make the area hard and less sticky.

Scrape away as much of the hardened sap as you can manage, using a dull kitchen knife, such as plastic or butter knife. Be careful when using the knife. Even though it is not very sharp, you could still cut yourself, your dog, or his hair if the dog moves suddenly, or you slip. If you find your dog is becoming nervous with the situation, take a break and try again in a few minutes, or else have someone help you soothe the dog while you work on the spot.

Apply olive oil onto your fingers and work the oil into the tree sap and the fur. The oil should be all over the tree sap as well as the surrounding fur.

Apply a small amount of olive oil to a clean washcloth. Use the washcloth to remove the rest of the tree sap. Work from root to tips. Be gentle when you are pulling at the tree sap as it may pull at your dog’s hair.

Give your dog a bath using your usual dog shampoo and conditioner.

Dry your dog thoroughly, and brush his coat.

Sprinkle a bit of powdered corn starch into your dog's hair if any mats remain. Work the corn starch in with your fingers. Pull the mat apart with your fingers, then use a dog comb to brush the mat out.


  • If the pine tar spot is large, and home remedies do not work, try a commercial product such as Goo Gone, which can purchased at your local grocery store. If that doesn’t work, consider cutting out the tree sap.